New IPCC chief calls for fresh focus on climate solutions, not problems

New IPCC head Hoesung Lee says change of tack for UN climate science body is needed to galvanise global action on emissions reductions.

The new leader of the world’s most authoritative climate science body has declared it’s time researchers shifted away from tracking the impacts of climate change – and focused instead on finding solutions.

In his first interview since taking charge of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Hoesung Lee announced a major change in direction for the organisation’s exhaustive science reports.

“We have been doing a fantastic job in identifying the problem of climate change. At the same time we have been somewhat slow in identifying the solutions aspects,” Lee told the Guardian. “I believe the next cycle of the IPCC should be more focused on opportunities and solutions.”

I believe the next cycle of the IPCC should be more focused on opportunities and solutions.

He said the change in approach was needed to spur governments and business to do more to cut the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. “The actions on the part of policy makers to tackle climate change will be much more energised on the basis of opportunities and solutions … I believe that will be the next phase.”

The South Korean energy and climate economist took over from Rajendra Pachauri, who was forced to stand down in February after being accused of sexual harassment by a female researcher at his institute in India.

Lee steps in only weeks before governments gather in Paris in December to try to strike a deal to avoid catastrophic climate change. He is only the fourth head of the IPCC since it was set up in 1988 to provide the best science to governments on climate change.

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